I was surprised last week with the Cubs first round pick of Kris Bryant. After the initial shock of not drafting a Jonathan Gray I was able to look at Bryant objectively. I really like what I see. I believe he is a perfect #4 hitter in any lineup. He has tremendous power and his strikeout to walk rate this year impressed me. I truly believe he will end up as a corner outfielder for the Cubs.
Here’s a sneak peek of what the Cubs lineup could look like in 2015.
Leading off in CF-Albert Almora
Batting second at SS-Starlin Castro
Hitting third at 1B-Anthony Rizzo
Batting cleanup in LF-Kris Bryant
Batting fifth in RF-Jorge Soler
Batting sixth at 3B-Javier Baez
Batting seventh at C-Welington Castillo
Batting eighth at 2B-Darwin Barney
That could be our lineup in the near future. There are other players that did not make this list such as Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Junior Lake, Matt Szczur, Dustin Geiger, Arismendy Alcantara and Daniel Vogelbach. I think some of these names will be on the Cubs roster and could even be starters. I also believe that some of these names will be used in future trades.
Any way I look at the Cubs future I get excited. I think our lineup will be in place soon. We still don’t have the pitching I think we need to order to win a World Series, but we are on our way.
When the Cubs signed Alsonso Soriano prior to the 2007 season I was really excited. He had just posted a 40 HR/40 SB season. Things have not worked out as I had hoped but Soriano still has value in the right situation. He is still capable of hitting 25 HRs in a season and would make a good DH/OF for an American League team. I know that Cubs still owe $18 Million a year through 2014, but I hope Theo & Jed are able to eat a majority of that contract and trade him. It would open up a spot for Brett Jackson hopefully. We already have Marlon Byrd and newly signed David DeJesus in our outfield. I think we need to find a way to get this done before the season starts.
What a mess that the Cubs have right now. We aren’t going anywhere this year and probably not next year either. We had the chance to deal Carlos Pena to the Yankees, but decided to keep the great fielding, power bat and .225 average. Starlin Castro was railed on by Bobby Valentine on ESPN recently during a game where the young shortstop was lackadaisical on the field. Veterans Ryan Dempster and Aramis Ramirez have options for 2012 for $14 million and $16 million respectively. That’s a lot of money for a couple of guys in their mid 30s. Quade keeps getting ejected from games…6 for season now and it’s obvious that he is frustrated with this team’s performance. The bottom line is that this team is a mess and it’s going to take a while to clean it up.
Now for the good news! Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney seem to be a potentially really good double play combo for the next few years. Andrew Cashner may be be joining the Cubs in September after suffering a rotator cuff injury in April. Brett Jackson, Cashner, Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt are some of our younger players scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League this year. Tony Campana has had a positive impact on the Cubs this summer and has a strong chance of making the team in 2012. Tyler Colvin has been getting regular playing time and has hit the ball hard despite having a terrible average. Matt Garza is pitching much better than his record would indicate too.
Even with all our troubles we have a lot to look forward to. It’s just going to take a little time. I hope the Cubs are patient and make the right moves with our players and future General Manager.
With the way the Cubs are playing this season, I think it’s okay to talk about a contingency plan. Let me explain. I am not saying that we are throwing in the towel by any means. However, if another 6-8 weeks go by and we continue to lose more than we win, it may be necessary to start trading players and their contracts.
I think the list of guys that we could put on the trade market is a big one with some good players. Aramis Ramirez, Marlon Byrd, Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Dempster being among the biggest names. I would love for us to be able to move Alfonso Soriano and his huge salary as well, but that would be really difficult. By potentially moving Byrd and Fukudome we would be opening up spots in our outfield for younger players such as Tyler Colvin, Tony Campana and Brett Jackson.
I would hate to trade Ryan Dempster, but I could see him help a team win a pennant and possibly the World Series. He just turned 34 a couple of weeks ago and is a great competitor and leader. I could also see the Cubs trading Randy Wells too. I don’t think Carlos Zambrano will be traded. I see him as one of the cornerstone players that the Cubs hope to build a championship caliber team around.
Our bullpen is relatively young with the exception of Kerry Wood and John Grabow. I want to keep Wood for multiple reasons. It’s already evident, that he will give the Cubs a home town discount and it’s good to have a veteran leader in the bullpen.
The Cubs are going to have a chance to sign a big name or two this upcoming off season. Whether it’s Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder or someone else, the Cubs have a ton of money that they will be able to spend after this season is over. I look for them to go on a spending spree!
Finally, we have Aramis Ramirez who could also be traded. I don’t want to lose him, but he’s being pitched around a lot this season with little protection in the lineup. His power numbers are suffering due to this. In the right lineup, I think he would return to form and help any team win.
When it’s all said and done, I don’t want the Cubs to be sellers. I won’t us to be buyers! I want us competing for the division title and a spot in the post season in 2011. I still think if our team is able to start winning. I still believe we can win the NL Central. A lot must go right, but it’s not impossible!
The Cubs have begun to make cuts this week and the team is beginning to take shape. We still have some battles going on for the starting rotation and bullpen along with bench player spots for the hitters. We have two weeks to figure out who’s gonna stay and play and who’s being sent down or released.
With the injury to Adam Wainwright, I truly think the Cards need to sign Jeremy Bonderman. He’s the type of pitcher that Dave Duncan could turn around and get 12 wins from this season.
This is the week many of us baseball fans have waited for all winter. Pitchers and Catchers Report! I love those words. It let’s me know that baseball is back, spring is close and warm days are soon ahead of us. Baseball is one of my passions and I am a diehard Cubs fan. Each season brings hope. Going into 2003 I did not think the Cubs would make it as far as they did. In 2009 I thought we would go farther than we did. Last year, well, I was disappointed to say the least. Yet, winter is almost over now and that is something to be excited about.
The Cubs reached a three year extension with Carlos Marmol avoiding arbitration. I think the deal is a fair one and both sides should be happy. I know some believe we overpaid Marmol, but I think we may have paid even more in arbitration if he has another great season. I guess we will find out if it was a good deal over the next three years.
I read that C.C. Sabathia may opt out of his contract at the end of this season. That is something that surprises me personally, but being the greedy Cub fan I am, I wouldn’t mind this happening. As I’ve said numerous times over this winter, we have a ton of money coming off the books after 2011. We could go on a big shopping spree and C.C. should be on our shopping list if he does opt out. Other guys I would like to see us sign are Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez and Rickie Weeks.
Since I mentioned Albert (again) I am surprised that he and the Cards haven’t reached an agreement yet. If I’m the Cards I offer the 9th and 10th years that Albert wants. I try to make them vesting options if at all possible. Have a minimum games played option or something similar to that.
Even though our minor league system lost several key players in the Matt Garza deal we still have some talent that could reach the majors this season in Jay Jackson, Brett Jackson (no relation to my knowledge), Chris Carpenter and Trey McNutt. So, we still have talent available that can help our team. We also have a few guys that I really like in the lower levels. I think I will write a post on them soon.
Yesterday it was in the 50s where I live. I had the opportunity to take my son, 3, outside and pitch to him for a little bit. He loves to play baseball and that make his daddy happy. We played for only a short time, but it was still great to play a little baseball in February.
Finally, I wish everyone the best this upcoming spring training. It’s a time of hope for every team and their fans!